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Alumni Help Celebrate Park’s 40th Anniversary

By Dylan Van Arsdale

The Roy H. Park School of Communications’ legacy came to life this weekend as the campus celebrated its 40th anniversary. Since its founding in 1973, countless students have learned their respective crafts at the school, and returned this weekend as alumni to reconnect with their alma mater. I had the opportunity to meet with some alumni firsthand, and uncover some of Park’s heritage for myself.

Part of that heritage is a long-running studio class production known as “Hobby Lobby.” Many former television-radio majors may remember the project, which emulated a late-night talk show interview. For the anniversary weekend, I helped resurrect “Hobby Lobby,” allowing alumni to relive with their old assignment, and letting new students discover what it’s like to work alongside former “Parkies.”

A dozen current students and myself arrived at the studio early Sunday morning to help Professor Gossa Tsegaye get the studio ready. Old technology met new, as we used everything from the latest digital media server to a still-functioning antique radio microphone from WICB’s early days. Before long, a parade of alumni streamed into the studios where they had their first broadcast experiences.

Outside the studio, we assembled a collection of photographs stretching back to the founding of the Park School. As I looked over the photos myself, I couldn’t help but marvel at how much talent our school has cultivated over the years. Hundreds of productions, thousands of cast and crewmembers, and countless hours of programming have made our school into the media leader it is today.

Better yet, I had the chance to meet and talk with many of the people in the pictures themselves. For example, Warren Pick, Class of 78, found a picture of him operating a camera more than 35 years ago.

Professors reunited with former students, some of which became professors themselves! I spoke with one alum who instructed Professor Tsegaye during his undergraduate years. In fact, Professor Tsegaye recalled being scolded by his former teacher for not being able to fit a headset around the afro he had at the time! During the reunion, I was able to see three generations of Park alumni working together on one project, and meet the man who first created “Hobby Lobby” several decades ago.

The celebration weekend encouraged me to reflect on our school’s history and made me realize something very important and summarized best by a conversation I overheard Professor Pete Johanns have with a former student, “Many things have changed around here. But then again, some things never change.” He was referring to the lighting fixtures in the control room, but his words also resonated on a deeper level. Our school has evolved and adapted to match the ever-changing world of media, however, many aspects remain the same: our dedication to our craft, our professionalism, and our passion, which challenges us to be the best we can be.



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